By Geoff Hammond
This is my first column in On Mission, and I want to take this opportunity
to thank you personally for your prayers and multiplied expressions of support.
It has been heartwarming to see how Southern Baptists still love their missions
agencies and to be reminded that we are still a missions people. As I said at
the Southern Baptist Convention, it is a long way from Ogbomosho, Nigeria to
Alpharetta, Georgia. I was born in a Southern Baptist missions hospital, and I
owe a deep debt of gratitude to Southern Baptists for all that they have done
It is one of the greatest honors of my life to be called by the Lord to give
leadership to the North American Mission Board, one of the premier mission
agencies for reaching North America for Christ. I believe we are called to
assist Southern Baptists in their task of fulfilling the Great Commission
through a relevant national strategy for sharing Christ, starting churches and
sending missionaries, in cooperation with our Acts 1:8 partners.
The task is enormous, more than any one person, state or agency could ever
accomplish on their own. But the combined potential of Southern Baptists
joining hands and working
together in partnership with our Heavenly Father is more than sufficient for
In my first few weeks, several folks have asked me some interesting questions.
One of these has been: What has been the biggest surprise for you as you learn
your new position at NAMB? My response is usually, “How long do you have?” But
if I had to sum it up in one short answer, my greatest surprise has been to
discover the multiplied ways in which NAMB assists Southern Baptists in
fulfilling the Great Commission.
Take the story of Greensburg, Kansas. In May of this year, a massive F-5
tornado ripped through this small town, killing 10 people and destroying more
than 95 percent of the town… including all the churches. What’s interesting is
that this town did not have a single Southern Baptist church. Can you believe
there are still towns in North America that do not have a Southern Baptist
church? Some residents said that one of the worst parts of the entire ordeal
was looking around and not seeing a single steeple. But here’s the good part.
When the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists asked for help, NAMB
was able to provide $65,000 for a doublewide trailer. This trailer, which will
serve as a mobile chapel, was on the ground and dedicated July 8!
Kansas-Nebraska churches jumped in and raised another $10,000 to furnish the
chapel’s interior (the pulpit was given by a neighboring town’s church). Now,
because of this evangelistic ministry center—open to the entire community—there
will be a Southern Baptist church planted in the Greensburg area.
Here is a great example of partnership with a state convention, an association,
lay leaders, disaster relief volunteers, the North American Mission Board… and
YOU! Yes, because of your faithfulness in giving to the Cooperative Program and
the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions, NAMB was able
to be there and provide what was needed when the call for help came in.
Why do we go to such great lengths in Kansas? Because people in Greensburg need
a Savior. Just like the rest of North America—and the world!By unanimous vote, trustees of the North American Mission Board (NAMB)
voted March 21, 2007, to approve church planting missionary Geoff Hammond as
president of NAMB. Geoff was born in Ogbomosho, Nigeria to missionary parents
and raised in Zimbabwe. He was appointed as an International Mission Board
missionary to Recife, Brazil in 1990. During those seven years, he served as a
professor at the North Brazil Baptist Theological Seminary and assisted in
church planting with the Pernambuco Baptist State Convention. Returning to the
United States in 1997, Hammond served for two years as director of missions for
the Washington Madison Baptist Association in Northwest Arkansas before
becoming a church planting strategist with the Southern Baptist Conservatives
of Virginia and minister of Global Missions at FBC, Norfolk, Virginia. In 2002,
he became senior associate director of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of
Virginia. Geoff and his wife, Debbie, have two children: Timothy and
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